Oregon-based veterinary clinic BarburVet is using VetBadger, a cloud-based practice management system, to give their clients a great virtual experience while still practicing high-quality medicine. Here’s a firsthand look.
Here in Portland, Oregon, we’ve been practicing curbside telehealth for almost a year now, and our clients (and patients) love it. Even when the pandemic ends, we’ll continue offering this service because we know that some people will still want to maintain social distance, and it’s a much more efficient use of our time and space.
In early 2021, Janie had her first visit at BarburVet with her nine-month-old puppy, Maple. She scheduled Maple’s televisit at our clinic when she couldn’t get in touch with her previous vet. Apparently they’d been struggling to answer their phones since the pandemic began, and despite having a reminder system that sends text messages to clients, their clientele was slowly declining due to lack of effective communication. Janie’s friend took his puppy there for an initial exam, and they failed to schedule his eight-week follow up appointment.
A few minutes before her appointment, Janie sent us a text message stating that she was going to be five minutes late. We responded that it wasn’t a problem. When Janie arrived for her televisit, she sent another text that she had arrived and Belle (our receptionist) replied with a link to the video conference system. Belle also communicated that Michelle (our technician) would be coming out to take Maple into the building to start her exam.
We offer reliable WiFi in our parking lot, so Janie was able to get a great video feed on her smartphone. Meanwhile, inside the clinic, I was able to connect with my laptop on the same screen where I enter my medical notes. Maple was well-behaved in the exam room, and was happy (and only slightly confused) to hear Janie’s voice coming from the computer. A few times when I left the room I could still hear Janie talking to Maple in the empty exam room!
These curbside telehealth visits are an efficient alternative to remote telemedicine because they allow me to do a complete physical exam with my patients. And since I have the client on video we can have a full face-to-face conversation about the patient’s health and care. I’ve even noticed that patients are more relaxed and better behaved in my exam room when their owners are on video than when the owner comes into the room.
Before wrapping up Maple’s appointment, I talked with Janie about dental care (because I noticed the beginnings of some tartar buildup), and about the importance of socializing Maple with other dogs and people. It’s hard to manage that during a pandemic, but just going out for a walk where Maple can see other dogs will make a world of difference.
Janie was so pleased with Maple’s visit that she signed up for the first year of our wellness plan. We are so excited that we’ll get to help Maple grow into a healthy dog – and are looking forward to building more new relationships using our telehealth software.
Dr. Alexandra McLaughry is the owner of BarburVet in Portland, Oregon. She completed her veterinary degree at University College Dublin, in Ireland, in 2003. She has treated many species of animals, from horses, llamas, and cows to birds, turtles, lizards as well as dogs and cats. She enjoys educating clients about their critters, and believes that client communication is a key part of successful veterinary medicine. She enjoys dentistry and dermatology as well as addressing such common issues as osteoarthritis in the aging pet. In her free time, Dr. Alexandra can be found racing her fixed-gear bicycle around velodromes up and down the West Coast.